Green Tree Frog Dreaming

I’ve always loved Green Tree frogs. There’s something about those wide froggie smiles that is eminently adorable. When the Muppet hero Kermit came along there was no going back for me. It’s been a life-long romance.

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A virtual Green Tree Frog on my pond rim – until a real one comes along

The Green Tree frogs  are endemic to these parts. Ever the opportunists, on warm summer nights they stick on windows with little suckered feet, preying on unwary insects attracted to the light.  They colonise showers and toilet cisterns, singing a lusty nightly chorus and would have to be the most endearing little creatures you can share home with.

Last summer after deluge of rain that lasted some days, the large storm water drains opposite my daughter’s house filled to the brim. These are not the concrete culverts you would find in the city, but rather, large pond-like structures to capture the huge water run-off  we experience in the wet season. Because of the proximity of the beach they have sandy bottoms and when dry through the winter, native grasses flourish in them.

Not one to miss an adventure opportunity, I took my grandchildren tadpoling. Until then they’d never experienced the joy. We gathered glass jars, nets, sieves and a gang of neighbourhood children (all under seven years of age) and headed for the pond which was teeming with ‘taddies’.

The girls were fearless, wading straight in, shoes flung aside, dipping their nets and tipping their catches into the jars like they’d done it all before.

The boys took a little time to get over the ‘gross’ squelch of rotting vegetation between the toes, shouting ‘watch out for monsters/sharks/stingrays/pirates!’ None of which was even a remote possibility but made for some delicious squealing and mock terror displays.

Some young teens on their way to fish in the nearby creek, identified the tadpole varieties for us. It’s important you see, not to propagate pests like the introduced Cane Toad tadpoles because of the enormous threat they pose to our wildlife.

A few curious parents joined in saying they hadn’t been tadpoling since they were kids. Others weren’t quite so enthusiastic, voicing concerns as they hovered, about water quality, water borne diseases, dangers lurking beneath the surface and so on. All valid points, but I swear I could their rotors spinning.

It made me appreciate how much freedom I had as a child, and the joy we found in simple things.

Later, the tadpoles were re-homed in fish tanks bought especially for the purpose. Some were gifted to school for the children to monitor and learn about the amphibian life cycle. I took mine home to my garden pond where I watched over them like a hovering parent until they grew legs and disappeared (a bit like children).  I fervently hoped they’d find a home in my tiny garden.

A few days after our tadpoling adventure the ponds drained and dried up. All remaining tadpoles (mostly the cane toads one hopes) died a desiccating death in the hot sun.

That was last summer. I’ve not heard a croak from any of those little frogs I saved from a certain death – until last night.

In the dark humid evening a new voice lifted in song. It came from the water-well under a potted Boston fern. I’m holding my breath until I can identify it but – be still my beating heart – I think it’s a Green Tree frog!

 

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An almost concealed frog in the water well

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One of the mature frogs from the tadpole hunt – alas not on my wall.

 

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26 responses to “Green Tree Frog Dreaming

    • Oh so do I! It’s extraordinary really, when you consider the ideal conditions, that there aren’t green tree frogs here. I released about eight taddies and they all grew to maturity. So where have they gone?

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  1. I really hope the frogs take up residence. I always loved looking for frogspawn, tadpoles and froglets when I was a kid. I could only do it when I went to my cousin’s house because there was no stream near where I lived. I’m glad the local school got some of the tadpoles. I think children care more about nature as adults if they enjoy it as children.

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  2. Robyn, The photo drew me in like a magnet and the writing brought a big smile to my face. We have a vernal pool on our property and it is filled with little creatures under all the squishiness. We always know when spring has officially arrived when the peepers start their singing. I loved hearing about your adventure with your grandchildren.Thank you for a needed respite from writing all day. Clare

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    • Thank you Clare. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. I had to look up the meaning of ‘vernal pool’. It’s not a term I’m familiar with with. I so love the contact with people like you that the blogosphere makes possible. I’ve made friends and always learn something new. Last night we all went out into the warm night to watch the International Space Station pass over in its orbit around the earth. It occurred to me then that despite the distance between our continents, we share the same skies, albeit just at different times I guess. Happy New Year to you Charlie, ZuZu and Roxie. I hope it brings all your heart desires.

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      • Charley and I belong to a group called Stargazers and are tuned into what is happening in the skies above. Two months ago. I wrote a post on the interconnectedness of the universe called “To Infinity and Beyond”during one of my more philosophical moments. Happy New Year to you and your family, Robyn and wishing you much joy and peace in your future…Clare

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      • It is 5am on New Year’s Day here as I’m watching your flurry of comments come in Clare. I’m still a little sleepy but just had to read your post To Infinity and Beyond – wonderful! I can’t believe I missed it. We gave my grandson a telescope for Christmas to ignite his imagination for the skies above us. In the process we rediscovered our own interest in astronomy. I plan to comment further on your post – when I’m properly awake 😜

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      • Yay for 2016! We still have a few hours to go until official kiss-face time.If you were here in New England, I’d take you and your grandson to the planetarium and the special exhibit on the search for longitude at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.You would love it!

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      • I think I certainly would! We have a planetarium in Brisbane.- our nearest capital city. That will be an excursion for the holidays. I will have to research the search for longitude at Mystic Seaport. No doubt they’d be promoting it on their website.

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  3. This story took me back to when my boys were little and I would take them to a creek in the local park. We would catch salamanders and all manner of water creatures. I had to laugh when you were describing the boys shouting look out for sharks and monsters (that is just like little boys). Now that my sons are grown they tell me that I was a “cool” mom because I was unafraid of frogs, hamsters, etc. Thank you for bringing back these sweet memories.

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